“It was very simple. I saw you in the same way a beast contemplates lambs.” Anatoli Onoprienko
The sounds of thick rope being tightened by its holder are always unsettling to hear. This is the first thing you will hear and see in Felipe Eluti‘s directorial debut film, Visceral: Between the Ropes of Madness, or Visceral: Entre las cuerdas de la locura. His experience working in film as a writer, producer, and even an actor gives this extreme horror flick an edge over many others I have seen with a more professional appearance and great acting. . . but it does not dare spare you from visceral violence and gore.
The movie starts with the boxer (the credits refer to him only as this), played by Felipe Eluti himself. His knuckles are bloody as he practices for his next match, but we also see flashes of a crying woman bound by rope and duct tape. A preview of what’s to come.
The majority of the film proceeds in a non-linear fashion, adding to the overall sense of distortion and discomfort. We witness the Boxer following his pair of victims (an unnamed couple) as he abducts them and tortures them before we see him jogging as if nothing had happened. The carnage and screams continue until the film shows us the origins of his homicidal acts. While banging his head on the wall, an entity grabs him into a dark room. His captor, a nude woman with a pale demonic face presents herself to him as Judas.
“I am the purtrid and painful sores that fall on men with the mark of the beast. I am the one who destroys the body and eats into minds. I am Judas, son of Christ . . . And now, your flesh is mine. “
Judas, played by Carolina Salles, whips the Boxer in true BDSM fashion as she declares him her vessel of murder. She requires an endless bounty of bodies. Throughout the film, we see scattered scenes of the Boxer subject to his own torture in the hands of Judas. But even with a nail hammered though his tongue, he doesn’t scream. I dare say that he enjoys being under her control.
From here, a barrage of disjointed scenes of murder, mutilation, and sadism play on, shows the transformation of the Boxer into Judas’ plaything. He impales, skins, and beats his victims, seemingly helpless to Judas. As the third act approaches its end, I expected something more to happen, like something to make the Boxer question his actions or something like that. But as I waited for the non-linear scenes to be tied together in a neat little bow, the film abruptly ends. In the final scene, we see the Boxer standing up to Judas, and that’s it.
A part of me was ready to instantly knock down this film for the anti-climatic ending, but after a second watch, I feel that this film’s intention leans more towards presenting intense, well-made visuals rather than telling a story. In other words, it is best enjoyed if you simply like a slideshow of horror made by a Chilean director.